Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Monday, February 28, 2005

this is radio europe

Everywhere I go, pleople want to know...

Sont-ils fous, les americains?
Sono pazzi, gli americani?
Why did you vote for Bush?
Excuse me, but do you inform youselves by watching Fox?
Spinnen die Amerikaner?

It's a harsh world out here...


Blogger Traveller said...

Pazzi. Sans doute. I've been stumbling on dire warnings about our economy, the increasing exchange of oil for euros, avoidance of the dollar, the conviction that the US is out of control, that our credit is unreliable, and the evidence that the tattered underpinnings of our economy are being ignored -- blindly or deliberately.

Pues sí. Locos perdidos.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doris Lessing wrote in her memoirs that Americans suffer from fevers. She was talking about the 1950s, McCarthyism and the anti-Communist witch-hunts, and she wrote it pre 9/11. Fever seems a nice word for it. Mass insanity is another. The same phenomenon seems at work today. Also enormous mass denial of reality.

I'm not ready to emigrate (I live in California anyway, where we may be weird but we're not completely dislocated from reality) but I am beginning to think of myself as a member of the underground. If the Russian dissidents could live through the Soviet era, keeping their heads down and doing what they needed to do, then I can stick it out here. The opposition in America does exist, we just have no real political power. Right now.

Leila at Dove's Eye View

10:48 PM  
Blogger The Liberal Avenger said...

I was unexpectedly moved by the "sorryeverybody" internet photo campaign just after the election - and even more so by the photos back from people around the world saying "We understand," "Keep trying," We forgive you."

A selfish concern of mine as a citoyen du monde living in these crazy American times is the hit our personal stock has taken over these past 4 years. "Oh, those boorish, loud, crazy Americans - you've got to love them" has given way to more than a small amount of contempt.

8:44 AM  
Blogger The Liberal Avenger said...


What primary "national label" do you assign to yourself generally? Is it different when you are in Europe? Are your European friends approaching you as an American or as one of their own living amongst the savages?

2:21 PM  
Blogger Anátema said...

I have read your post before and I'm doing it's a very interesting post coincident with an issue that I often consider and debate: the stupidity of enclosing reality in abstract categories...
"the americans"..."the portuguese"..."the french" that's an abstraction, if you know what I mean...something that doesn't exist!
What do we have? individuals that by accident live and are born here or there...

What is that thing of being american? Are americans all alike? of course not...Neither are french people or portuguese people...

I probably identify myself much more with an american, or a french, or a spanish then with a lot of portuguese fellow citizens.

50% of americans voted for Bush...and so what? 50% of portuguese voted for Durão Barroso in the previous elections...50% of french voted for Chirac...does that make such a difference? No it doesn't; there's not really such a difference and surely it doesn't make europeans more clever.

I hate bush and american foreign policy. I hate imperialism. period. I hate a lot of things in the so called american way of life... but I don't confuse YOU=NUR, for instance, an american citizen, with all that baloney. As I hope nobody confuses me with the simbols of portuguese identity (fado/fátima/saudade). I'm a citizen of the world as a lot of americans I know - you included, am I right?

sorry if I wasn't clear enough.

5:23 PM  
Blogger madtom said...

Well, why did you vote for Bush?

Anatema, most Americans are from all over, and also see themselves as citizens of the "free" world. We do see the difference between the free world and the rest.
I myself am Cuban of French and Portuguese descent born in the US. What category would you put me into. All we can hope is that the rest of the world moves beyond their little borders.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Traveller said...

Nur -- There's been a shift in the breeze with respect to the comments of liberal pundits.

Suddenly Bush is "doing the right thing" and his policies "winning" in the Middle East, what with freedom and democracy a-bloom just everywhere!

I'll be interested to see -- and hear from you -- whether anti-Bush media folk in France and Germany and elsewhere are softening, too.

In answer to Anatema: it's probably a lot more difficult for those of us who have spent a great deal of time overseas. We don't assume America must be right! This doesn't endear us to the "patriots"!

6:24 PM  
Blogger Nur-al-Cubicle said...

to answer pw's question about softening of the press towards Bush, there are no chinks in the armor here on the Continent. Bush and Condi are dismissed as crackpots. There is no America bashing in the press, it`s much more conspiratorial than that. The tone is neutral, but behind it lies an icy `Bush is irrelevant` belief. People just shake their heads.

Me? I`m a citizen of the world.

1:49 AM  
Blogger The Liberal Avenger said...

Condi sounded like a semi-finalist in a high-school forensics competition on her charm-offensive to Europe last month.

"Now is the time to put our differences aside..."

OK, Condi. If you say so.

The foreign service people in Europe must think that there is something funny in our water.

6:17 AM  
Blogger Anátema said...

well, sorry. I suppose I didn't make myself clear enough. But I think we all agree that "enclosing reality in abstract categories" it's a stupid thing to do, dont we? It's the first step to misunderstand reality, in my opinion.

I do agree with you PW when you say that we all should "move beyond our little borders". That's precisely my point of view. That is, we are - in the first place and most of all - individuals with our own and particular identity...and that's far beyond nationality.

However, PW, when you declare that (quote):
"We [americans] do see the difference between the free world and the rest"
I'm inclined to believe that you are commiting the same mistake we commit when we label and stereotype "the americans" or "the french", putting all citizens born in US or France under the same cactegory. You are enclosing reality in another abstract cactegory.

What is "the free world"? Democracy is a really synonymous of a free world?

I am portuguese, I live in a democracy but women in my country go to jail for commiting abortion...people with diferent points of view - beyond mainstream - are not invited to speak in institutional press, the electoral laws erase the smaller parties, etc etc etc... is that freedom?

Does US live in freedom?

Do we all - the "democratic" world - live really in freedom?

To reinforce this point of view and answering your question I may tell you that we don't have AN ANTI-BUSH MEDIA!!! We don't have a SINGLE NEWSPAPER or a SINGLE TV channel that dare to refute "Bush's policy". But we are "democrats" and we belong to the "free world"...:)))

How free is this world?

10:09 AM  
Blogger Anátema said...

I have made a mistake here. I wrote PW but I was refering to Madtom.
Forgive me, please.

10:14 AM  
Blogger madtom said...

"How free is this world?'

You complain about abortion rights and election laws, I won't comment on those but point out how you are free. You could move, you could start a political party with those issues as a platform, you could write a book that expose the evils of the anti-abortion state, you could write and produce movies, or works of art that have those issues are the subject. If you can answer Yes to those, then you are free, as free as anyone in the free world.

Try any of those in Cuba and you go to jail, lose your job, and your ration, sanctions against the rest of your family. They are not free. There is a clear difference.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Anátema said...


please, don't see things white and black...

I could write a book? Yes, but NO ONE would PUBLISH IT!!

I could start a political party? Yes BUT NO ONE would KNOW IT because I wouldn't have the right to appear in TV programms or newspapers!!!

I could produce movies? NO because i wouldn't have the money for it and NO ONE would provide funds for it...

Do you understand it?

And by the way...yes, I can go to jail in my country for much less then you think...I can loose My jobs for beeing political inconvenient etc etc etc

I have lived in fascism and believe me, I know the "difference".

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anatema, I really do not understand what you are complaining about. You say that your country is so unfair, then why don't you move? You say "We don't have a SINGLE NEWSPAPER or a SINGLE TV channel that dare to refute "Bush's policy"." If you came to America, then you would get to read tons of them! You complain about how unfair your country is, then do something about it, make a stand, and if you don't think that you can do that, stop complaining, and MOVE. That is one of the things that ticks me off about some Americans. All day long, they sit and complain about Bush...bla bla bla, and they do nothing about it. If they are so offended, then why don't they just leave!? Yes, they could start a political party, here in America. They have to put you on televition, everyone has to have fair publicity in a campain for president. You could also make a movie, in America. Freedom of Speech.

9:37 PM  

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